Call For Submissions – Proyecto Latina Chapbook

!Felicicadades! Proyecto Latina is soon to be completing its 7th year! To celebrate this milestone, we are creating an anthology of the voices, artwork, and chisme that have made Proyecto Latina thrive as a safe and vibrant space for Latina creativity in Chicago.  We want to include your best work that represents your collaboration with Proyecto Latina’s mission and values in our anthology. We look forward to reading your submission.


We accept electronic submissions to online submissions manager

Submission fee $15, payable through the online submission manager.  (We know.  We don’t like submission fees either, but all fees go toward the cost of printing so that we can make this happen).

Online deadline: November 15, 2012

Accepting original writing and artwork, all genres.

Include cover page with: brief bio, specific relationship to Proyecto Latina’s activities, and acknowledgments and complete publication information of works that have been previously published.

Your full name is your entry/submission title

Your writing should be a Microsoft Word file; art should be TIFF file

Simultaneous submissions ok provided we are notified immediately of acceptance elsewhere

English, Spanish, and Spanglish are welcome. 


Microsoft Word submissions only; use a 12-point standard typeface (e.g., Courier, Times, or similar font)

Number all pages

Name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address in the top left corner of the first page

Title and author name at top left of each succeeding page

For fiction and novel excerpts, include word count at the top right corner of the first page

Fiction: 4000 words maximum.  Double-spaced with minimum 1-inch margins all around.

Flash fiction to 750 words. Three stories maximum per submission.

Experimental/hybrid/cross-genre work to 12 pages.

Poetry: No maximum length.  Up to five poems per submission.  Single-spaced okay.

Short Plays: Up to 15 pages

Novel Excerpts: Self-contained or standalone chapters or excerpts of up to 4000 words

We will begin our reviewing  from November to February and will contact you to confirm

if your work has been accepted.

Questions about the process? Contact Paloma Martinez Cruz –

Submit your work at the link below:

Submit to Proyecto Latina

Click the Pay Pal button to process your $15 submission fee. Submissions without the submission fee payment will not be considered.

La Neta: A Latina Guide to Losing it All

Introducing La Neta

Paloma Martinez-Cruz

The humorous science fiction novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams provides advice to the intrepid, intergalactic hitchhiker: DON’T PANIC. I thought these words were a good way to introduce the present series on loss, failure, suffering, and survival. Much ink is spilled about how to succeed in life. It seemed to me that very little was being said about the other side of the spectrum, namely, how to fail. We fall down many times in love, career, health, family, friends, finances, creativity, beauty, style, passion. It occurred to me to develop a series that drew on both the analysis of prevailing data about our communities, our creative and critical voices, and the personal narratives that remind us that we can find strength in each others experiences in the universal moment of defeat. Proyecto Latina has graciously provided me with the space to undertake this project.

La Neta is about our failures. In the coming installments, a few themes I plan to address include, but are not limited to, divorce, abortion, unemployment, motherhood, care giving, and loneliness. I am hoping that you will tell me about the other topics you would like to see me cover. I believe that these experiences are our teachers. How can we become useful human beings without valuing our defeats? We can’t. And since that is the case, I vote in favor of rolling up the sleeves and doing the hard work of looking at our lives as they truly are. Instead of sweeping all the broken shards under the mat, let us get to the matter of getting many things wrong, and being brave enough to call it a useful existence.

The intention of La Neta is not to fix your problems, nor to console you when things don’t work out as you would like them to. We are all broken. We are all misshapen, weird, lonely, sick, and starving for the cure that will make us less misshapen, weird, lonely, sick, and starving. I am not writing to say, “Let’s be strong in the broken places,” because that would be trying to spin gold from straw. Let straw be straw. Let’s challenge ourselves to be cool with all this straw we are dealt. Also, I am not writing to tell you, “There, there, it will all be better.” Sometimes things get better, and sometimes they get worse. I’m not interested in the Pollyannaisms of, “tomorrow is another day,” or, “remember how many marvelous things you should be grateful for.” If today sucks, let today suck. It is your right to NOT be okay.

There is plenty of writing about the steps you need to take to improve yourself, and this writing is wonderful. Who doesn’t love learning how to set a table, or dress for an interview, or confront a lover’s hurtful behavior? However, La Neta is not about improvement, it is about acceptance. And remember: DON’T PANIC! You now have a handy guide to losing it all.

Excavating Women and Knowledge in Mesoamerica

Photo courtesy of Thelma Uranga

 I pray for your book, the way I pray for my people.  -Doña Augustina, Oaxacan Healer

At the beginning of the year, writer and Renaissance woman Paloma Martinez-Cruz kicked off our Proyecto Latina Reading Series. Her book Women and Knowledge In Mesoamerica: From East L.A. to Anahuac had just been published. In this long over due interview, I’m happy to have finally carved out the time to revisit my conversation with Paloma about the importance of her book and share it with you.

Whether you’ve seen Paloma read her writing, doing a performance piece or whipping out her guitar and singing at Proyecto Latina there is no doubt she is a blazing creative bonfire and her book is a reflection of this.

Paloma is originally from North East Los Angeles and resides in the Pilsen neighborhood and has always been drawn to philosophy and letters. When she was a student at the university she wanted access to ideas and theoretical work on Mesoamerican knowledge traditions but couldn’t find a place for it within her educational experience. Writing the book according to Paloma is, “a way to decolonize who I am.”

The book’s focus is on Mesoamerican knowledge traditions and why don’t we have access to them? “It’s important to know ourselves as knowers and not always having to cut and paste from European traditions and values. It helps us find our alignment and have a connection to our past,” says Paloma.

Photo courtesy of Mike Travis

In school, she didn’t want to study a body of Mesoamerican people in an anthropological way where traditions are categorized as folkloric or as Paloma says sarcastically, “Oh, how neat that they do that or let’s look at how they are different from us.” Paloma wanted to look beyond that narrative and she says, “ I don’t want to learn about them, I wanted to learn from them, about their philosophical traditions and ways knowledge is communicated and shared.”

Through performance studies she was able to begin exploring this idea of knowledge traditions. Her chapter Women Healers of Tenochtitlan was born in a performance and conquest class led by professor Diana Taylor at New York University. She then traveled from New York to the highlands of Oaxaca to research and study with Oaxacan healer Doña Augustina. On one particular visit Doña Augustina gave Paloma’s book a blessing by saying, “I pray for your book, the way I pray for my people.”

What Paloma discovered in her research was that in Mesoamerican knowledge traditions there is a different way to value knowledge and share it with the community. The spiritual connection to nature is put in higher esteem than the self.  Things like ambition and ego are considered pathology within these communities.

I asked Paloma how she manages being a professor, a writer and a mom and with that marvelous laugh of hers she says, “I managed it como loca!” Having a son you are always a mother even if your child is not in the room. It’s the same when you’re working on a book.  You’re always working on a book even if the book isn’t in the room with you, you’re always kind of processing it,” says Paloma.

Academically the book paves the way for other Latinas in higher education trying to document and create conversation of knowledge traditions along with its impact on today’s generation. It’s a must have for anyone an interest in gender, Chicana, Latinas, Women, Mesoamerican traditions. Read more on Women and Knowledge In Mesoamerica: From East L.A. to Anahuac.

(Also, in the interest of full disclosure, Paloma is now part of the Proyecto Latina team! She is taking the lead on a special project that she will be telling you about herself in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!) Read more on Paloma…

Proyecto Latina – January 2012

Paloma Martinez-Cruz, Ph.D., Photo by Thelma Uranga

The Proyecto Latina Reading Series is excited to kick off the year with our first feature, writer Paloma Martinez-Cruz. She will be reading from her new book Women and Knowledge in Mesoamerica: From East L.A. to Anahuac (University of Arizona Press, 2011).  The book focuses on the medicine traditions of Mesoamerican women that constitute a hemispheric intellectual lineage that thrives despite the legacy of colonization.

Beginning with the pursuit of Chicana models of intellectual agency, Women and Knowledge in Mesoamerica is narrated as a journey to decolonize the mind in order to open up to the possibility of non-Western knowledge flows that prevailing analytical authorities have deemed “unintelligible.” Starting in East L.A., the centrality of Mesoamerican women healers can be observed in the literature of the Chicano movement and beyond.

Proyecto Latina Reading Series – Free

@Cobalt Studio

Monday, January 16, 2012 from 7PM to 9PM

1950 West 21st Street – Storefront

Chicago, IL 60608

Get Directions

CTA: Damen Pink Line Stop / #50 Damen Bus

Arrive early to sign up for the open mic and remember the Chisme Box is ready to be fed

Read more on Women and Knowledge in Mesoamerica: From East L.A. to Anahuac

Paloma Martinez-Cruz, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latino Studies and coordinator of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.  She received her B.A. in Latin American Literature and Chicano Studies from the University of California at U.C. Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Latin American Literature from Columbia University in the City of New York.  Martinez-Cruz’ book entitled Women and Knowledge in Mesoamerica:From East L.A. to Anahuac: (University of Arizona Press, 2011) argues that medicine traditions among Mesoamerican women constitute a hemispheric intellectual lineage that thrives despite the legacy of colonization. She is the translator of Conçeicão Evaristo’s Brazilian novel Poncia Vicencio.

Special thanks to Adriana Baltazar, Creative Director and our venue sponsor:


09.12.10 Domingo Newsbytes

09.12.10 Domingo Newsbytes

photo credit: Vivian Zapata.

Its been a whirlwind weekend for me but it was a beautiful way to close-out the summer and kick-off the fall.

Last night Proyecto Latina hosted Adelita Pata de Perro at the Carlos y Dominguez Fine Art Gallery in Pilsen.  I got to see new work by Jenny Priego and see the many beautiful friends that stopped by to check it out.  There were two things that made this night exceptional:  it was our first exhibit opening for a monthly feature and second it was the first time we moved our third Monday night date to a Saturday–just so you know we are back to our regularly scheduled program in October.

Last night’s raffle winner for two tickets to Aguijon Theatre’s, Las Soldaderas is: Janine Garcia.

photo credit: Jessica Phillips.

Also, on Friday I was at the opening night for Vida Breve, the Day of the Dead exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art.  I was excited to see the culmination of  months worth of work with the great women from El Stitch y Bitch for an altar dedicated to our crafty ancestors.  Although I had seen different parts of the project be developed the amazing final outcome–when all elements came together–left me awed. The icing on the cake for this project was to have Naomi Martinez aka Monstrochika share her wonderful skill to painting an altar element that included my poem.

This September’s Mexican Independence celebrations in the city have placed a special emphasis on the bicentennial and an unexpected occurrence was the focus on Adelita–check out Catalina Maria Johnson’s story on 848 and learn about local projects that are Celebrating the Heroines of the Mexican Revolution. Stephanie Manriquez also explores the  subject of Soldaderas and the origins of Mexican Cuisine in this week’s Extra News.

And the revolutionary wavelength continues beyond the fiestas patrias

  • This week Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced he will retire.  Looking at his legacy is a good way for Latinas to start schooling ourselves as we prepare to vote for the next city leader: The Chicago News Cooperative summarizes it nicely by topic.
  • I wonder if the city’s new leader will share anything in common with Monica Marquez who is,  “the first out lesbian and the first Latina to sit on the Colorado supreme court,” according to
  • Failing to hire adequate and qualified translators has been a need that I’ve observed in my local press,  public hearings and instructions for a new piece of furniture.  So, its not really surprising that its also on a list of recommendations for the Hispanic National Bar Associations report on Few and Far Between: The Reality of Latina Lawyers.

A couple of not-to-be-missed events this coming week are:

  • Strong and Chata: We Are All Narizona, artists respond to immigration policies that attempt to erode dignity and strength.  Curated by Paloma Martinez-Cruz and includes work by Jackie Orozco.  Opening reception is next Saturday, Sept. 18, 8-12 p.m. at The Beer Run Gallery, 1104 W. 18th St.
  • Bless Me Madrina a new play by Yolanda Nieves.  opens Friday, Sept. 17th from 7-10pm at the Chicago Center for Performing Arts.

Finally, we are raffling two tickets to Bless Me Madrina for next Friday, Sept. 17th.  To enter your name into this drawing, leave a comment that includes a way to contact you: an email or link back to a website/blog.  We close the drawing at 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, September 14, 2010.